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The Land Partnerships Handbook A new approach - using landto unlock business innovation
The Land Partnerships Handbook The Land Partnerships HandbookThe Land Partnerships Handbook A new approach, using land to unlock business innovationContents Foreword Land is our most precious resource. Land supplies our food, water and energy. It supplies the raw materials ways of thinking about old problems, new opportunities for creating sustainable businesses. And to think about the long for countless rural businesses and so term as well as our immediate needs.04 What is the Land Partnerships Approach? supports the local economy. It offers landscapes of outstanding beauty This handbook sets out practical and06 Step 1 Taking stock and unforgettable experiences. It is a constructive ways to build and strengthen haven for nature. the relationships that will make this08 Step 2 Finding the right match happen. It aims to unlock the potential But land is also a scarce resource of land and of budding entrepreneurs, to Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE and one under increasing pressure from encourage us to explore new forms of10 Step 3 Creating a balanced agreement Director-General the demands of a growing population. land tenure – and to use existing models National Trust We need smart land management more imaginatively. It is both practical12 Step 4 Selecting a legal framework that balances social, environmental and guide and thought provoker. Above all, it economic needs – now and in the future. is far sighted in seeking to address one of18 Step 5 Thinking long-term 15 That demands a new approach. This Land Partnerships Handbook sets out the biggest challenges facing us all. that approach. Ultimately our success in managing our CASE STUDIES 16 Good land management depends on partnership – between landlords and land will be judged by future generations. Our responsibility is to do everything we can to ensure that we hand on land that 05 FarmStep project in Oxfordshire tenants, producers and consumers, meets their needs as well as it has met owners and communities. To manage our our own. This will be not be a simple 07 Dartington Hall Estate land in a balanced and sustainable way, task. But by working as partners to meet we need to harness the enthusiasm and social, environmental and economic 09 HerePigPig creativity of all those groups, working needs, now and for the long term future, 15 FutureFarms together. We need fresh ideas, new we stand a chance of doing that. 16 Clinton Devon Estate 19 The StoryAcknowledgements 19 Why this is My long standing concern has been how we maintain a diverse This issue was recognised by representatives from across theThe Land Partnerships Handbook is itself the product of strong needed now and thriving farming industry for the future. It is now clear that we are industry at the Fresh Start National Farming Ladder Seminar in 2011.partnership. The project was conceived by LandShare CIC and the missing a crucial factor in ensuring Now this timely handbook hasDartington Hall Trust. The handbook was written by Tom Curtis of this as we go forward. This is the grasped the challenge. It is a majorLandShare CIC and David Riddle of LandWise Rural Resource ability for ambitious and innovative step forward; without preachingManagement, with legal advice from Mark Charter of Blake Lapthorn new farmers to gain a foothold and radical change it points to how aSolicitors. Alison Rickett of Fresh Start coordinated the production of the get on up the farming ladder. fresh, collaborative approach betweendocument, and the National Trust helped with print and production. Heidi landowners and ‘land entrepreneurs’Proven of Landshare.net organised web resources. Rachel Harries of the There are many reasons for this, can unlock new potential.Soil Association, James Copeman of James Copeman & Co and John Lord Donald Curry but key is the sharp decline inChannon of Dartington gave active support through the project steering of Kirkharle medium size holdings, from 32,000 I urge you to read on. The partnershipgroup. Funding was very kindly provided by The Ernest Cook Trust, Holly KB CBE FRAgS to 18,000 in the past 20 years. This behind this handbook demonstratesHill Trust, Dartington Hall Trust, and Blake Lapthorn Solicitors. We are also means the barriers to entry are high, how we as an industry can workgrateful for all the case studies and endorsements other organisations and the opportunities limited, and we are together to capture the talent andbusinesses have contributed throughout the document. All contact details in danger of having a closed shop. passion of our future farmers.can be found on www.LandPartnerships.org02 03
The Land Partnerships HandbookWhat is the Land Our approach This handbook is structured around aPartnerships approach? five-step process, which is designed to address both the technical and the relationship-building aspects of creating a strong business to business arrangement. Each step emphasises a critical element of the approach, asBuilding on the long heritage of land Who might be interested? described in the diagram below.tenure, the emphasis is on creating Landowners Step 1: Taking stocksound business relationships. n L ate career farmers, thinking about succession, planning to Making a clear assessment of the assets you have at your disposal, and what you would like to achieveT wind down from some of the with them his handbook describes a new The conventional, and perfectly practical aspects of running a approach to help landowners legitimate, way to let land is for a farm, or to pass on experience to parcel out land and buildings on landowner to advertise a tenancy a new generation which ‘land entrepreneurs’ can opportunity with a ready-made draft n ew landowners, who want Nestablish new, independent businesses. agreement. Prospective tenants compete to see their land used practically CASE STUDY Step 2: FindingThe approach places strong emphasis on for selection through a tendering process. and gainfully, but who are not the right matchthe process of forming and maintainingsound business-to-business relationships. The Land Partnerships approach will tend to differ in terms of ethos and process: in a position to farm the land themselves Camilla and Roly, and the Getting the right combination of land, n ctive farmers, with land, A FarmStep project in Oxfordshire people, skills, and objectivesLegal agreements are an important n T he ethos of Land Partnerships is who wish to diversify theirpart of this process but they are seen essentially reciprocal, with both parties business without the risks and Camilla and Roly both grew up on farms, and both have had successfulas a follow-on to the formulation of a taking the initiative to find each other complexities involved with agricultural careers working for FWAG and LEAF. Their dream was to setgood business deal. We show how you and to shape the nature of the establishing and running several up their own sheep farm – something to which they could bring significant Step 3: Creating acan use a spectrum of legal models to business deal itself. The result is likely businesses at once practical and people skills, and a thorough knowledge of the sector. balanced agreementcreate effective Land Partnerships, to be more balanced, and more stable. n state owners or managers who E Crucially, they also had an upbeat attitude and lots of energy. The onlyaccording to the nature and needs of have identified a gap in their thing they were lacking was land. Working out how to share the risks andthe businesses involved. n T he details of what is on offer from the estate system The Earth Trust is a land owning charity with 1,500 hectares of mixed rewards of new land enterprises landowner and what is expected from n and owning trusts or charities L arable and grazing land, south of Oxford. The Trust was keen to diversifyThe approach is primarily aimed at setting the land entrepreneur will be less fixed. wishing to find cost-effective its farm business holding, partly to broaden the base of its income andup new lettings or contracts but it can This leaves the process open to novel ways of achieving their social or partly to create a buzz of active and engaging farm activities on its land,also be used for the creative review or proposals, and creates more potential environmental objectives with which to inspire public interest in food and farming. But establishing Step 4: Selectingre-negotiation of existing arrangements. for collaborative planning – coming up a cluster of in-house businesses would have been complicated and with ideas and solutions together. Land entrepreneurs expensive. So the decision was made to invite in innovation through a a legal frameworkWhat makes the n Y oung farmers, with the scheme called FarmStep. Most of the required legal and businessapproach different? n D eciding and agreeing the most training and experience to set up Camilla and Roly now run a sheep farm on the Trust’s estate. They structures exist already. This is aboutThere are already nearly 15,000 tenant suitable form of agreement will be a new farm business, but without have 400 ewes and produce lamb which is sold through local farmers’ using tried and tested tools to create novel outcomesfarmers in the UK, working on more than the end point of the process rather the land or capital markets. Roly says: “For us this is a lifelong ambition. The business isa third of our agricultural land. The Land than the starting point. n xperienced farmworkers or land E ours, and the land is owned by the Trust. Setting up our sheep farm wouldPartnerships approach builds on a long managers, who have decided not have been possible if we had had to buy our own land, so this hasheritage of land tenure, from modern joint Why is this useful? to take the step up into running been an important opportunity for us.” Step 5: Thinking long-termventures and Farm Business Tenancies, The promise of a Land Partnerships their own business, but who do Being prepared for the inevitabilityback to medieval common rights. approach lies in the benefit it brings to not have the capital to buy land of change; creating options, n eople with a related business P both parties. Encouraging land-own- improved risk management and new optimising resources, and building background, such as food retail ers and land entrepreneurs to combine ways of marketing, or it may simply business relationships that will standEncouraging landowners and land entrepreneurs to or horticulture, who are keen to resources to create new land enterprises involve the creation of a new business. the test of time branch out into the business of provides the owner with new ways tocombine resources to create new land enterprises land-based production diversify their operation. And it gives land We think that opening up this spaceprovides the owner with new ways to diversify their n ommunities or groups of C entrepreneurs the chance to apply and for creative entrepreneurship is Potential land partners should use consumers who wish to set up develop their business skills without the important. In a world of growing the handbook as a stepping off point;operation. And it gives land entrepreneurs the chance or invest in a Community prohibitive cost of land purchase. needs and shrinking resources, we to scope what is involved, to helpto apply and develop their business skills Supported farm which will produce products on their behalf. The outcomes might include better use need to muster as many smart and fresh ideas as we can to make best explore options and to point towards sources of more detailed and specificwithout the prohibitive cost of land purchase. of assets, integration of enterprises, use of the land. n information and advice.04 05
The Land Partnerships HandbookStep 1: Taking stock CASE STUDY Addressing risk on the Dartington Hall EstateScrutinising your own motivations, in Devonassets and requirements will be time “For some years now, it has been ourwell spent. practice at Dartington Hall Estate to offer small parcels of land to rent forW innovative or experimental uses to local hether you are the 3. Discuss. What do your family, Land Partnerships groups or individuals. Sound business landowner or the land colleagues, land agent and other are not restricted to planning is essential, as it is fair to say farming. Enterprises entrepreneur, the Land professional advisers think? that the more innovative a proposal is, at Dartington include Partnerships approach has the development of a the higher the risk to both parties is likelyto result in a viable and realistic 4. Balance clarity against being too woodland products hub to be. The Estate accepts that somebusiness arrangement. The aim is to prescriptive. It’s critical to be clear businesses will fail, but through ourgenerate value by bringing together about what you are looking for, but you approach of encouraging a number ofcomplementary assets, skills and should remain open about how you different experimental enterprises, weaspirations from both parties. The might achieve your objectives. One of spread the risk and the failures are morestarting point for making this happen is the benefits of Land Partnerships is than compensated for by businessesto be very clear what your own assets, that, by clubbing together with another which are successful.”skills and aspirations are. By taking business, you may discover unexpectedstock before starting to look for a land solutions and opportunities. John Channonpartner you will be able to: Land Use Manager Thinking about riskn C ommunicate what you have to offer, Attitudes to risk, and perceptions of so that you can attract the most risk, have a strong influence on decision compliance or breadth of the customer appropriate partners making. In general it is natural for us to base. Others will be external and less Questions you might ask yourself perceive activities we are familiar with controllable, such as input andn Draw up a focused set of search as being safer than things that are new. commodity costs, or the weather. Landowner Land Entrepreneur criteria so that you can select the But any business, whether long- Some will be difficult to gauge, such best land partner for you and established or an untried start-up, is as those from novel enterprises, Motivations Is this about building up a farm business, or Is this a stepping stone to something else, or your business exposed to risk. And in uncertain times young entrepreneurs or untested plans. scaling back your commitment? Are you looking do you want to settle down? Do you have a – as we face with land enterprise – But that doesn’t mean they are not for someone to develop a particular business precise vision for a type of farm or business?n I dentify clear outcomes and taking a chance on the new might just worth taking. The Land Partnerships opportunity, or are you open to suggestions? Is this a way of life, a way to change the world, parameters against which to pay off against holding fast to an old approach encourages both parties to Is this part of a vision for the whole estate or a or just a way of making a living? Are you evaluate potential partnerships business model. examine their appetite for risk and to solution for one parcel of land? How hands-on aiming for independence, or do you want a plan for uncertainty proactively. The or hands-off do you want to be? close business partnership?The process of taking stock can be So it is important to make an development of new businesses willinstructive and revealing. Our key even-handed assessment of risk. Some introduce new risks; but the opportunity Assets What land, buildings, and equipment might What skills can you bring to the newrecommendations for getting the risks will be familiar – internal to the to diversify, integrate systems and you wish to make available? What other business? Do they just relate to farming, ormost out of it are to: business or capable of being managed, perhaps reduce off-farm inputs may business interests do you have which might do they include marketing, communication, such as the diversity of income, legal offset others. n complement a new one? What markets can retail or business development? Do you have1. Structure your thinking. We find it you give access to? What skills and experience equipment or livestock? How much capitaluseful to do this under three headings: might you be willing to offer? Is there any do you have access to? What’s your businessMotivations – what are you in this for? It’s critical to be clear about what you are looking for, infrastructure that you will need to develop or idea? Are there any skills or plans you need toAssets – what have you got to offer? upgrade before you can offer up land? develop before seeking a land partnership?Requirements – what do you need? but you should remain open about how you might achieve your objectives. One of the benefits of Land Requirements Do you need the new business to provide a Does this have to provide you with a living2. Take time. Avoid simply plumping particular service (straw, muck, energy…)? wage? Do you need a house? How muchfor the most obvious answers and Partnerships is that, by clubbing together with another Is there a financial benchmark you need to land/property do you need to start? Howconclusions. The process of reviewingyour business situation might spark off business, you may discover unexpected solutions match? What absolute red lines do you have? For example, these might relate to contractual much might you need further down the line? What infrastructure will you need? Are younew ideas and perspectives. and opportunities. commitments, grant or tax pitfalls (see Legal absolutely fixed on one business idea? briefing on p17), or personal preferences.06 07